A few days back, we put up part one of “The Next X-Men Films” series, our look into the future of Fox Studio’s growing and financially successful movie series based on Marvel’s mighty mutants. This was based on quotes from Empire’s recent feature on Lauren Shuler Donner, producer of all films X-Men related, and today we’ll look at the other two anticipated films she spoke about.
In Part One we discussed Wolverine 2, the most-likely-to-happen solo flick out of Fox’s development slate as well as X-Men: First Class, the prequel to Bryan Singer’s first X-Men which is currently in its writing stages with Josh Schwartz penning the script.
After the financial success of Wolverine’s solo prequel, we saw a quick greenlight for the Deadpool film and knew there’d be a Wolverine 2 down the road. Prior to this, X-Men: First Class, a team prequel to Bryan Singer’s first X-Men was already in the works. So, we all knew those were the three go-to projects for Fox Studios to come the soonest. What I never felt sure about was X-Men Origins: Magneto, since it would involve a recast of title character and wouldn’t tie-in too much with the franchise. That and the fact it would be based heavily during the holocaust made it less bankable as a superhero flick and more limited in playing with other popular mutants of the X-Men universe, especially compared to the other potential films they could create with those resources.
The first thing Donner said about the hopeful Ryan Reynolds starrer, Deadpool, is that it won’t be based on the messed up version of what we saw in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. By that, she means Fox and/or the folks responsible for Hugh Jackman’s solo title admittedly did a poor job of bring Deadpool to live-action.
“I want to ignore the version of Deadpool that we saw in Wolverine and just start over again. Reboot it. Because this guy talks, obviously, and to muzzle him would be insane.”
Yeap. Almost as insane as giving the character lasers that shoot from his eyes or swords longer than his forearm that come out of his arm…
Not the Deadpool we like
The one big issue that came not long after hype for the Deadpool project started to build was the unexpected announcement that Ryan Reynolds would be starring as Hal Jordan in the DC Comics movie, Green Lantern. Why would Warner Brothers choose the lead of an upcoming Marvel-based movie as the lead in their upcoming DC-based movie? More importantly for fans, does this mean he can only do one or the other?
“I don’t see it as a problem that Ryan [Reynolds] is also playing Green Lantern. I mean, look at Harrison Ford – he was in Stars Wars and Indiana Jones at the same time and everyone was fine with that. Green Lantern could not be more different to Wade Wilson. Green Lantern is a guy who finds a ring and is thrust into this world, much like Spider-Man. Wade Wilson is a guy who unfortunately gets cancer, and volunteers for a test that will give him healing powers. He is a bad ass, a wise-cracking mercenary, who will go out and kill anyone for money. But the thing about him is that, underneath it all, and he wouldn’t want you to know this, sometimes he’s not such a bad ass after all. Sometimes he does the right thing.”
As a fan of Reynolds and of his portrayal of Wade Wilson (pre-surgery) from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I want to see them make a Deadpool flick, especially with Donner, Reynolds and Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld making statements that the project will stay true to the comics, bring his red & black costume, break the fourth wall and bring a ton of attention to why he’s called the “Merc with the mouth.”
With that said, what kind of style and story can we expect from a Deadpool film?
“It’s going to be a dark, snarky, very funny movie. It’s the hardest story to tell, I think. There’s no clear cut villain – though you do have great baddies from the comic-books like Black Tom, Slayback, Blind Al and the Weasel. Blind Al is this blind woman in his house, who he abuses and mocks… it’s terrible. But you find out that she was a convict who did something terrible and he saved her from execution. So he lets her live in his house and she looks after him, but they both torture each other. Anyway, there are good stories and we’re figuring out which ones to incorporate.”
Lastly, Donner touched on where they are in pre-production for the flick and re-iterates that they’re really trying to push new boundaries in the comic book movie genre with this project.
“We’re right in the thick of talking to writers right now, and hopefully by November we’ll have decided who’s going to do it. We need someone really imaginative because we want to do some really innovative, ambitious stuff. Ryan’s mentioned this in an interview already but there are parts where he’s going to break the fourth wall and talk directly to the audience in the cinema. We have to work out how to do that. I don’t know that Fox will agree with all our decisions, but we’ll see!”
Unfortunately, she ended with the statement about Fox’s approval. Uh oh. Maybe we won’t see any fourth wall breakage and maybe they won’t have Deadpool wearing his mask after all. For once, I think fans need to see the folks responsible for production of the film to have more creative control. I’d love to see what the Donner, Reynolds and the writing team come up with if given complete creative freedom.
We’ll have to wait and see.
X-Men Origins: Magneto
After X-Men 3: The Last Stand made its run, talk about the future of the franchise was focused on going backwards in time with prequels of the more popular characters introduced in the trilogy: Wolverine and Magneto.
At the time, we knew the following about the plot for the film:
“The storyline will heavily involve Professor X, the wheelchair-using X-Men leader. That character was a soldier in the allied force that liberated the concentration camps. The professor meets Magneto after the war and while they bond over the realization that they are alike in their special powers, their differences soon turn them into enemies.”
Although a de-aging special effect was used in X3 and to make Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen appear many years younger, there would need to be a re-cast of Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr for a movie based heavily when they were younger.
Fast forward to present and we see that McKellen is doubtful of him playing Magneto in the prequel as well and hasn’t been kept in the loop in terms of the script. In an interview with Empire several weeks back, he discussed the situation.
“There’s meant to be a ‘Magneto’ script floating around… [But] I’ve not read it, so I suspect it wouldn’t involve me… I think it would be about the younger Magneto, and the most I could hope for would be to top and tail that. They can’t have someone whose face is as lined as mine any longer!”
With McKellen and Stewart not involved and this solo film standing alone from the X-Men movies, this project seems harder to sell to mainstream movie audiences in my mind, at least, compared to the other characters we’ve heard rumblings about. In Empire’s interview with Lauren Shuler Donner, the producer also touched on this project briefly but hinted at it being very low priority for the studio.
“David Goyer has written a brilliant script. It starts in the concentration camps and has Magneto coming out of there. But you know, I’m not sure that film is going to be made. The studio has a wealth of potential stories, and they have to stand back and decide which ones to make. And Magneto, I think, is at the back of the queue. Maybe it’ll get made in five years – who knows? I can tell you that Ian McKellen won’t be playing the character the whole way through. We used Lola technology in X-Men 3 to de-age Ian and Patrick for one scene, but it’s very expensive. To do that for a two-hour movie would be prohibitive financially. And to find a younger actor to fill Ian’s shoes, that’s pretty daunting. It’s not easy.”
I’m sorry for the Magneto fans out there but I think the idea of a movie featuring a younger Magneto and Prof. X has been replaced by X-Men: First Class where they can again play with a large cast of characters to market and merchandise. If my predictions on that come true, I think it’s possible we see a younger Magneto working alongside Patrick Stewart’s Xavier in that movie to build and start the school for mutants.
McKellen revealed that he’d be up for a least a guest role in another X-Men movie so maybe we can see him and Stewart together again, this time on the same side for X-Men: First Class. Perhaps the story of that movie could lead to them becoming enemies and Magneto’s beliefs differing from Xavier’s so much so that he leaves to start the brotherhood and builds his trademark helmet to counter the Cerebro unit he co-constructed with Charles.
Switching gears to the projects we know will happen, Bryan Singer in talks with Fox to possibly direct another X-Men film. If that would happen, I expect that he’d definitely be working with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine again, meaning it’d be either Wolverine 2 or X-Men 4. At this point, it seems unlikely that Gavin Hood will be back to direct the second Wolverine film after seeing Donner and Hood dance around that issue at all of the press events for the Blu-ray release of the latest X-Men installment. After the awful critical reception and partly mixed fan reaction to Wolverine’s Weapon X story adaption, they seem hesitant at giving Hood a second chance and will probably give another director a shot.
As for Singer taking over that job, my guess is that he’d direct X-Men 4 instead since he started that franchise and has plenty of unused ideas leftover from what would of been his version of X-Men 3. The other reason being that X-Men 4 would be a while down the road which makes more sense for Singer whose schedule is seemingly tightly packed for the next few years with the other projects he’s involved with.
That’s it for Part Two of our look into the future of the X-Men franchise. Stay tuned for more as next time we talk about other rumored and speculated X-Men projects and open it up to see what the fans want to see: New Mutants, Phoenix, X-Men 4, Gambit, Cable?
What do you think about solo movies for Deadpool and Magneto? Could they work and what stories and characters should they follow?
If you missed it, don’t forget to check out Part One of The Next X-Men Films on Wolverine 2 & X-Men: First Class.
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